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16 May 19. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., of Israel, signed a teaming agreement to jointly develop, market, manufacture and support Rafael’s Smart, Precise Impact and Cost-Effective (SPICE™) guidance kits for U.S. sale. SPICE is a family of stand-off, autonomous, air-to-surface weapon systems that provide affordable precision in a GPS-denied environment. In use since 2003, SPICE is combat-proven and in service with the Israeli Air Force and several other nations worldwide. “Access to GPS is becoming increasingly limited in contested environments,” said Mr. Yuval Miller, executive vice president and general manager of Rafael’s Air & C4ISR Division. “SPICE provides a solution to this challenge. Finalizing this exclusive agreement sets the scene for our two companies to provide unmatched mid-range guided air-to-surface weapon systems to enhance mission flexibility and success.”
The teaming agreement covers the SPICE 1000 (1,000 pound/453 kilogram weight class) and SPICE 2000 (2,000 pound/907 kilogram weight class) kit variants. Over 60 percent of SPICE is already manufactured in the U.S. in eight states.
“SPICE offers the U.S. Department of Defense and many allies a capability that no other weapon currently in inventory provides,” said John Varley, vice president at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “By applying our expertise in aircraft integration, mission planning and tailkit design, along with our experience in affordable streamlined production, we will adapt SPICE to meet U.S. standards so bomber and fighter aircraft can benefit from the added mission flexibility that SPICE offers.”
16 May 19. NIOA begins production at Benalla Munitions Factory. NIOA has confirmed that it has commenced manufacturing operations at the Commonwealth-owned munitions facility at Benalla in regional Victoria. NIOA, in conjunction with SAAB Dynamics AB Sweden, is undertaking work on the 84mm Carl-Gustaf ammunition for the Australian Defence Force.
The commencement of NIOA operations at Benalla marks a significant milestone following Minister Pyne’s announcement in September 2018, where he said, “The NIOA tenancy will strengthen and diversify sovereign capability while also ensuring increased use of the government factories at Benalla, providing more munitions supply options for Defence. NIOA’s work in Benalla will build further on their work supplying ammunition to Defence, and leverage their partnerships with some of the world’s leading munitions companies.”
NIOA has established an experienced team and a comprehensive explosives safety management system, secured the necessary government operating licences and has worked closely with the Commonwealth and Australian Munitions to ensure that the operations are conducted in the safest possible manner.
“NIOA’s work in Benalla will build further on their work supplying ammunition to Defence, and leverage their partnerships with some of the world’s leading munitions companies. I look forward to NIOA producing and eventually exporting munitions from Benalla to our friends and allies,” Minister Pyne said at the time.
This operation is the first of many for the NIOA business, which is working towards developing a true sovereign munitions manufacturing capability.
A series of additional business cases are currently under active review by Defence for follow on work. These business cases centre on contracts that NIOA has recently won, including the Major Munitions Contract that included 120mm tank ammunition, the Army’s future 155mm artillery ammunition and 30mm ammunition for the Boxer vehicle.
Munitions and small arms research, design, development and manufacture has recently been identified as a sovereign industrial capability priority by Defence.
The NIOA tenancy will strengthen and diversify sovereign capability while also ensuring increased use of the government factories at Benalla, providing more munitions supply options for Defence. The business cases under active review are also expected to result in export opportunities.
NIOA is an Australian owned company and one of the largest suppliers of munitions to the Department of Defence. The company has partnerships with many of the world’s leading munitions manufacturers, including Rheinmetall Waffe Munition, Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems (previously Orbital ATK), Vista, Day and Zimmerman, Junghans and Nitrochemie. (Source: Defence Connect)
15 May 19. Dynetics-Lockheed team beats out Raytheon to build 100-kilowatt laser weapon. A Dynetics and Lockheed Martin team have beaten out Raytheon in a head-to-head competition to build a 100-kilowatt laser weapon for the U.S. Army. The Army has awarded a $130m contract to the Dynetics-Lockheed team to build the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstrator (HEL TVD) laser system. Under the program, Dynetics — the prime contractor — will integrate the laser system onto the Family of Medium-Tactical Vehicles, or FMTV, with the effort culminating in a test of the entire system in 2022 at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. The Army began its effort to get a more powerful laser onto a vehicle less bulky than a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck in 2016.
The HEL TVD program is a science and technology demonstration program that will work toward incorporating a laser into the Army’s Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2 that aims to defend against rockets, artillery and mortars as well as cruise missiles and unmanned aircraft systems.
Laser weapons for platforms like IFPC Inc. 2 are being hotly pursued because regular interceptors quickly run out and are expensive. A laser weapon will have a much larger number of shots depending on power availability and would be far less expensive to fire at a threat than a missile.
“High energy laser weapons have been a system that the United States has wanted to add into their defense portfolio since the invention of the laser. We are glad to be selected to build this new and safe weapon system that will provide a simple, yet cost-effective approach in theater,” Ronnie Chronister, Dynetics senior vice president of contracts, said in a March 15 company statement. Lockheed Martin will supply the laser subsystem as well as other key elements, and will serve as the lead systems integrator.
The spectral beam-combined fiber laser subsystem that Lockheed is developing for the program uses the company’s experience gained from the Army’s Robust Electric Laser Initiative program as well as the ATHENA and ALADIN laser programs, among other efforts within the Air Force and the Navy. Rolls-Royce will supply its newly unveiled integrated power and thermal management system designed optimally to power a 100-kilowatt-class laser weapon. (Source: Defense News)
15 May 19. Russia begins serial production of APR-3M anti-submarine warfare missile. The Russian State Research and Production Enterprise Region ‘GNPP Region’, part of JSC Tactical Missiles Corporation, has completed trials and will soon begin serial production of its new APR-3M air-launched anti-submarine warfare missile.
“All the trials of the APR-3M missile have been completed, the process of its serial production has been organised, and its deliveries to the Russian Defence Ministry are under way,” company CEO Igor Krylov told Russian state media on 13 April. “In the near future we will also start promoting this missile for exports. The APR-3M is integrated into the armament of a Ka-27M modernised anti-submarine warfare helicopter.” (Source: IHS Jane’s)
15 May 19. First S-350 Vityaz medium-range SAMs to be deployed to Siberia. The first S-350 Vityaz medium-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems will be deployed in central Siberia to protect strategically important facilities in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, according to local media quoting the Ministry of Defence on 13 May. State certification tests were completed on 12 April and serial production has commenced. Initial deliveries will go to the 24th Mobile Air Defence Brigade, which was created in 2017 in Abakan, the capital of the Republic of Khakassia. An additional system will go to the Air Defence Academy in Smolensk, western Russia, presumably for training and demonstration. Developed by Almaz-Antey State Design Bureau, the S-350 Vityaz system, Russian air defence forces (PVO) index code 50R6, is intended to replace the 1980s S-300PS SAM and its later upgrade variants. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
14 May 19. US Army eyeing ways to pare down competing directed energy efforts. For decades, the US Military has been researching ways to field directed energy weapons on ships, ground vehicles, and aircraft to little avail. Pentagon leaders, once again, think they are close to overcoming some of the hurdles that have hindered past efforts, and the US Army wants to rein in the competing efforts and consolidate funding to ensure success this time.
Bruce Jette, the army’s assistant secretary for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, recently detailed the service’s plans to “find”, “herd”, and “cull” directed energy efforts across the services and various agencies.
“As we set up [the army’s rapid capability office], I established specific efforts to frankly find all of the cats [find the competing directed energy efforts]. Everybody is out there working on something they call directed energy and I’m trying to figure out what that really means and what they’re really doing,” Jette told members of the House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee earlier this month. “We think we know where most of the cats are, but not all of them; we are [trying] to herd them in.”
Once the service establishes those efforts, it will look at paring them back.
“We want to cull the cats down to those that will be productive as we move forward [and learn],” Jette later told reporters, adding that there’s simply not enough dollars for the army to compete with the air force, navy, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Instead, the services and DARPA need to find a way to “leverage each other’s efforts” to find the best solutions. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
15 May 19. Government announces local SPH build, Labor agrees. The Coalition has announced renewed plans to deliver a new, locally-built and sustained self-propelled howitzer (SPH) artillery system, with the opposition agreeing to both the government’s plan and Army’s timely “need” for the capability.
The project will also provide valuable investment in Australia’s local defence industry, creating hundreds of jobs in Geelong, with the long-term potential to expand the industry through exports to international partners.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, “We will acquire 30 self-propelled howitzers and their supporting systems, and we will build them and maintain them in Geelong, drawing on the large manufacturing skills base in the region.”
The Geelong area is currently divided into two electorates – the federal seat of Corangamite, held by Liberal Sarah Henderson, and the neighbouring seat of Corio, held by the shadow defence minister Richard Marles.
This program will significantly improve the force protection capability of Army, giving the ability to rapidly engage land targets at long ranges with a high degree of precision, to neutralise threats before they can deliver lethal effects on friendly forces.
“By reviving this project – which was cancelled under Labor – we will deliver the Army the capability it needs. By building it in Australia, we will create up to 350 jobs as part of growing our defence industry across the nation,” Prime Minister Morrison added.
Minister for Defence Industry Linda Reynolds said, “We will revive the self-propelled artillery project by bringing forward the Defence acquisition project known as ‘Protected Mobile Fires’ to address the capability gap left by Labor.”
Manufacturing work is expected to begin at a specialised, greenfield site by 2022-23, which the Coalition said will create 350 jobs across both electorates, raising questions about Labor’s plans for the program – will the opposition follow recent precedent by committing to the local build and maintenance for the Army’s new SPH and support systems?
Minister Reynolds outlined the details of the government’s plan, saying, “We will utilise the outcomes of the tender process cancelled by Labor and the Coalition’s Smart Buyer framework, as the starting point of an accelerated approval process. This will ensure that an Australian prime contractor can deliver a world-class platform with work beginning in Geelong before the end of 2022-23.”
This renewed program is expected to be renamed LAND 8112, with the government looking to proceed with the acquisition as a sole source program through Defence’s new ‘Smart Buyer’ initiative. Significantly, the government announcement also specified the requirement for an Australian prime, a precondition that naturally leads to the conclusion that Raytheon Australia will be asked to start where they left off in 2012 when the LAND 17 program was cancelled.
The Opposition responds
Marles and shadow assistant minister for defence industry and support Dr Mike Kelly responded to the Coalition’s announcement, highlighting the opposition’s commitment to work with Army to “acquire 30 self propelling howitzers to make sure it gets the capability it needs, when it needs it”.
This statement reveals the opposition’s commitment to a similar acquisition program and timeline to that announced by the Coalition – the ‘Smart Buyer’ initiative – which will see the government proceed with the acquisition as a role source program.
Labor took the opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to keeping defence expenditure at the bipartisan agreed 2 per cent of GDP, while also spruiking its Defence Regional Procurement Policy and plan to back Australia’s defence industry primes.
Both Marles and Dr Kelly stated that a Labor government would “seek Army’s advice on this decision to make sure it meets its needs, not a desperate government’s political need”.
Industry welcomes opportunity
The now defunct LAND 17 Phase 1C program saw tenders from Raytheon Australia as prime contractor with its then subcontractor Samsung Techwin (now Hanwha) providing its K-9 platform. The Australianised version of the platform, the AS-9, was down-selected by Defence and incorporated a range of enhancements as well as a significant Australian industry involvement plan.
A Raytheon Australia spokesperson told Defence Connect, “When the acquisition process for self-propelled artillery was cancelled in 2012, Raytheon Australia had successfully led a team offering an Australianised version of the Korean K-9 self-propelled howitzer, which became known as the AS-9 ‘Aussie Thunder’.
“Following the cancellation announcement, Raytheon Australia formally advised the Commonwealth that, although the company was disappointed with the decision, we would resume the acquisition process should the Commonwealth decide to reconsider acquiring self-propelled artillery. This advice was provided to rapidly deliver a world-class capability for the Australian Army. That offer remains on the table.”
“Raytheon Australia will respond to the requirement that this work be undertaken in Geelong by working with its partners to establish a new assembly and integration facility that has the potential to create hundreds on local jobs in the region. Raytheon Australia looks forward to participating in a genuinely national project that is based upon world-class technology, manufacture in Australia, an Australian supply chain and the creation of high-tech Australian jobs,” the Raytheon Australia spokesperson added. (Source: Defence Connect)
13 May 19. EOS Defence to commence T2000 turret firing trials in fourth quarter 2019. EOS Defence Systems of Australia is set to conduct initial live-fire trials of its prototype T2000 modular medium calibre turret in the fourth quarter of 2019. Launched in February 2019, the T2000 is a co-development with Elbit Systems that combines the structure and electric drive hardware of the Elbit MT30 MK2 30 mm unmanned weapon station with the fire control system (FCS), sensors, and user interface from the EOS Remote Weapon Station (RWS) range.
“Elbit Systems has been using EOS weapon stations since 2013 to demonstrate its weapon-integrated Battle Management System [WinBMS] product in Australia, and so the integration of the EOS FCS and sensors with Elbit Battle Management hardware and software solutions was completed some time ago,” Grant Sanderson, CEO of EOS Defence Systems, told Jane’s . (Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 May 19. US Air National Guard to trial BriteCloud expendable active decoy. The US Air National Guard (ANG) will trial the Leonardo BriteCloud expendable active decoy (EAD) under the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT) programme.
Announcing the move at the Electronic Warfare (EW) Europe conference in Stockholm on 13 May, the UK-based EW business of Leonardo said the FCT would involve testing of the BriteCloud 218 variant from the ANG F-16 aircraft.
BriteCloud is a compact, self-contained expendable digital radio frequency memory (DRFM) jammer designed to provide fast jet aircraft with effective ‘endgame’ protection against advanced RF-guided, air-to-air, and surface-to-air missile threats and/or tracking radars. After ejection, the BriteCloud decoy searches and locks onto the highest priority threat. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
13 May 19. Denel reaches offset milestone on Malaysia’s turrets contract. South African state-owned aerospace and military technology conglomerate Denel has launched its final offset initiative linked to its contract to supply turrets and integrated weapon systems to the Malaysian Defence Force. The project to deliver equipment for Malaysia’s new generation AV8 armoured vehicles is claimed to be the largest ever in Denel’s history.
The latest and final of the offset programmes will see South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) provide courses to participants from the Malaysian Armed Forces and offer an internship to a senior researcher from the National Defence University of Malaysia (NDUM).
Initial courses focused on radio frequency and microwave principles in electronic warfare. It was attended by 34 experts from the Malaysian armed forces and academia. Denel Group chief executive Danie du Toit said: “The collaboration will deepen the cooperation on technology and research between South Africa and Malaysia.
“The experience we gained on the AV8 offset programme will benefit Denel in future initiatives and can contribute to the promotion of the broader South African defence and manufacturing industries.”
Denel said it expects to deliver 100% of its offset obligations totalling €342m upon completion of the project at the NDUM in 2021. Nine of the ten planned projects are already underway.
Denel SOC is claimed to be the largest manufacturer of defence equipment in South Africa. It operates in the military aerospace and land defence environment.
The company delivers systems and consumables to end users, as well as sub-systems and components to its industrial client base.
Denel also has several equity partnerships, joint ventures and cooperation agreements with various global players in the defence industry. (Source: army-technology.com)
12 May 19. Raytheon and Kongsberg unveiled lethal version of MH-60 Romeo armed with Naval Strike Missiles. Raytheon Missile Systems, partnered with Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace, has unveiled a lethal version of MH-60 Romeo multimission helicopter armed with two Naval Strike Missiles.
Media specialist James Drew has posted a photo of an advanced helicopter with Naval Strike Missiles that was unveiled during the Sea Air Space Exposition at the Gaylord National Convention Center in National Harbor.
“Potentially the most lethal MH-60R Seahawk on the planet, armed with twin 100-nautical-mile, air-launched Naval Strike Missiles,” he said on Twitter.
The Naval Strike Missile is a long-range, precision strike weapon that can find and destroy enemy ships at distances up to 100 nautical miles away. The stealthy missile flies at sea-skimming altitude, has terrain-following capability and uses an advanced seeker for precise targeting in challenging conditions.
The MH-60 Romeo multimission helicopter will receive two Naval Strike Missile (NSM) in a helicopter-launched application.
According to Jane’s Defence Weekly, the Indian Navy appears poised to become the first customer for the helicopter-launched Naval Strike Missile. The missile will be integrated into Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky MH-60R multimission helicopters that India is looking to acquire under a Foreign Military Sale (FMS) case.
The MH-60R is equipped with a highly sophisticated combat system designed to employ Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and the Mark 54 anti-submarine torpedo. The primary missions of the helicopter is anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare. Secondary missions include search and rescue, logistics support, personnel transport and medical evacuation.
10 May 19. Rolls-Royce unveils hybrid power system for laser weapons. Rolls-Royce has been quietly developing an integral system required to operate laser weapons on the battlefield for about a decade in its LibertyWorks division, which is the company’s internal advanced technology unit based in Indianapolis. But the company is ready to go public on the technology it has internally funded, having taken it through extensive testing, Mark Wilson, LibertyWorks’ chief operating officer, told Defense News in a May 9 interview. That technology is an integrated power and thermal management system capable of powering a 100-kilowatt-class laser weapon, according to Wilson.
The system uses the company’s well-known M250 helicopter engine — that was used in the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter and is also found in the Little Bird and the AH-6i helicopters — which allows the system to generate roughly 300 kilowatts of electrical power and 200 kilowatts of thermal management capacity, Wilson said.
But the system is also considered hybrid as it combines a battery with the engine.
Rolls-Royce is “a power and propulsion company and so about 10 years ago, we started thinking more about electrification. You can see it in today’s hybrid cars, hybrid trains, same thing in marine applications,” Wilson said.
“We saw this capability of using a turbine engine and a battery combined to operate propulsion systems was potentially coming,” Wilson said, “so we started looking at electrification and then said, ‘Oh, there are also some unique opportunities when you look at what a directed-energy system needs. It needs a lot of power, it needs to be power dense and needs thermal technology as well and we are good at those types of capabilities.’”
The engine “allows us to have continuous operations as long as you have fuel available,” which leads to an endless magazine of laser shots, he said.
The battery allows “instantaneous power, so you don’t have to have the engine running all the time,” Wilson said. “You can start running on the battery and then switch over to the turbine engine once it’s up to speed.”
And the engine, when it’s running, can recharge the battery, he added.
The system is designed to fit inside the same vehicle as the laser weapon itself. Up until now, demonstrations of laser systems have focused on scaling and building up the technology of the weapon itself and so the services have used commercial off-the-shelf diesel generators and cooling systems that require a separate trailer.
“Our idea here is we want to package it in a size that can fit along with the laser system onto a vehicle, a type of a truck or eventually a ship or even eventually airborne, so the focus of our research is on developing that kind of capability that can go on an actual platform,” Wilson said.
To date, Rolls-Royce has done “quite a bit of work” in terms of designing, testing and modeling the system. The company plans to go through another round of testing beginning soon and lasting through the end of May and possibly into June.
That testing is in preparation for sending the system down to be field-tested this year with Lockheed Martin’s laser weapon system.
Lockheed Martin, partnered with Dynetics, is competing — head-to-head with Raytheon — to build a powerful 100-kilowatt laser for the U.S. Army, which pushes the envelope on directed-energy capability development.
The winner of the competition will integrate its laser system onto the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV).
And that is the size of truck that Rolls-Royce has its eye on for fitting its own power and thermal system.
But the company believes its technology is scaleable when it comes to powering different laser weapons and when it comes to the platform on which a laser weapon might find itself, Wilson said. That could be an Army vehicle, a naval vessel or a medium transport airlifter.
The Army, for instance, is testing laser weapons on a Stryker combat vehicle.
“Our goal is to develop technology for continuous operation,” Wilson said, but, “if the customer doesn’t need that and packaging is more important, we’ve got the tools now to be able to translate to other applications.”
The goal is for the services to see the utility of such a system because it will allow “customers to move past current low-power, low duty-cycle demonstrations by solving many of the difficult issues integrating high-power output with matching levels of thermal management,” Wilson said in a May 10 statement. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
10 May 19. The USMC is getting a new long-range missile to take out enemy ships. The USMC is dropping nearly $48m on Raytheon’s Naval Strike Missile (NSM) as it moves toward a series of experiments involving striking enemy ships and maritime targets from land.
Raytheon announced this week during the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space conference outside Washington, D.C., that it will provide the NSM to the Marine Corps under a $47.59m Other Transaction Authority agreement, a Pentagon spending category for experimentation and prototyping.
The deal follows a 2018 Navy contract with Raytheon to manufacture and deliver the NSM as the over-the-horizon missile system for the service’s littoral combat ships and the frigates that will succeed them.
“The Marine Corps’ selection of the Navy’s anti-ship missile enhances joint interoperability and reduces costs and logistical burdens,” Raytheon said in a statement.
Developed by Norway’s Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace, the NSM features a 275-pound, high-explosive warhead and has an operational range of more than 100 nautical miles. In a high-profile experiment during the 2018 Rim of the Pacific Exercise, U.S. Army Pacific fired an NSM from a Palletized Load System truck to hit a decommissioned ship off the coast of Hawaii.
A spokesman for Marine Corps Systems Command, Manny Pacheco, said the service plans to integrate the missile onto land-based vehicles over the next few years.
“What the [Other Transaction Authority] is going to allow us to do is take that capability, put it on certain vehicle platforms to see what it can do,” Pacheco said. “[The Marine Corps wants] to do a variety of test demonstrations on the capability.”
Breaking Defense reported in January that the Marine Corps was moving forward fast with plans to develop a land-based, ship-sinking missile capability, as part of an effort called Navy-Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System, or NMSIS. The outlet reported at the time that the Corps was considering NSM, Lockheed Martin Corp.’s Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile and Boeing’s Harpoon for the development program.
It added that the service is considering three different vehicles as a missile launch platform, including the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System; the Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement, or 7-ton, truck; and the Logistic Vehicle System Replacement.
Pacheco indicated that a vehicle platform had not yet been selected, and specifics of timeline and experimentation moving forward would hinge, to some extent, on that decision.
Under Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller, the Corps has become more aggressive in experimentation and pursuit of capabilities that can be integrated into existing platforms.
In 2017, Marine Maj. Gen. David Coffman, the Navy’s director of Expeditionary Warfare, told Military.com that the Corps wanted a truck-mounted rocket system compact enough to fit in an MV-22 Osprey. The same year, the Marines fired HIMARS from the back of an amphibious ship, obliterating a land target 43 miles away.
In February, Neller told USNI News the Marine Corps wanted a long-range anti-ship missile as fast as possible to support the Navy from the land in sea-control efforts.
“There’s a ground component to the maritime fight. We’re a naval force in a naval campaign; you have to help the ships control sea space. And you can do that from the land,” he told the outlet. (Source: Google/https://taskandpurpose.com)
10 May 19. Rheinmetall revisits RH503 50 mm cannon as potential option for US OMFV. Rheinmetall is investigating the possibility of offering the RH503 50mm cannon that it developed in the 1980s as the main armament for its KF41 Lynx for the US Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) programme. Philipp Tomio, Rheinmetall’s vice president and capture manager for OMFV, said on 9 May that the RH503 now fires a 50 mm round, greatly increasing its muzzle energy and lethality compared with a 35 mm weapon. Rheinmetall is also spending much effort to ensure that the turret of the KF41 Lynx can accommodate a 50 mm cannon, said Tobias Baumart, vice president and capture manager for the Australian Land 400 requirement. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
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